The Israeli maxim, “Only Likud can make peace and only Labor can conduct a successful war,” had to be amended last December to include, “Only a Leftist coalition can effect a large deportation of Palestinians.” For if it is virtually impossible to imagine the enormity of the backlash to a Likud government’s taking such a step, it is because under Likud the step itself would simply have been unthinkable. Likud knew that massive deportations would have caused not only an unprecedented international whirlwind but gigantic domestic demonstrations; the Knesset would have been reduced to a battleground, and the media would have branded the government a gang of fascist, “transferist” madmen.
Under Labor, however, the domestic response to the deportation from the administered territories of some 400 leading activists of the Islamic fundamentalist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad was a stunning display of unanimity. A poll taken immediately after the expulsion showed over 90 percent of the population supporting the government’s action. A few leftist activists and the tiny Peace Now movement were vehemently opposed to the deportations, which only went to show once again how divorced they are from the national consensus. So too with the vast majority of commentators. Their opposition to the expulsion was another indication, if one were needed, that the Israeli media do not represent the Israeli public.
About the Author